The Reason I Jump

It’s been a while….

What stirred me out of the lazy habit of simply posting on Facebook was ‘The Reason I Jump’ by 13-year old Naoki Higashida. The author is autistic and his struggles with language are very well documented in the book. It was written using a grid of Japanese characters and must have been an enormous ‘labour of love’.

Much of the content takes the form of Q & A and what I felt was well captured in Radio 4’s Book of the Week presentation, was that the questions seemed to be in the voice of a brusque, almost rude teenage peer. What was especially touching in Higashida’s passages was that it was clear that he understood how bewildering and trying it can be for many trying to communicate with an autistic person. Each time he touched upon this there was a plea for those trying not to give up.

In addition to content, the format was very engaging. Preceding each passage was an introductory section by author David Mitchell, co-translator of the book, along with KA Yoshida. He is the father of a autistic child and his insight and experience added a great deal.

You can read more on the Radio 4 Blog.

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The Writing Cure

Great faith has been placed in ‘talking cures’ for many years. American psychologist James Pennebaker came up with the writing version and this edition of Mind Changes tells the story.

One surprising thing, for me at least, was that this refers to temporary writing about a stressful event and not the kind of continuous writing of, say, diary keeping.

In addition to immune/healing there seem also to be improvements in cognitive abilities, specifically working memory.

The programme also touches upon analysis of text and what might indicate that some benefit has occurred. Pronouns are important here.

Digital e-state

What should happen to your online life when your on-Earth one comes to an end? If you had time would you ‘get your affairs in order’ before you passed on? What about sudden death? Who owns your online life then?

This edition of Out of the Ordinary investigates such matters.

Syria

My knowledge of Syria has always been scant but this programme was quite an insight.

Lutosławski

Of all the composers I remember coming across at music college for the first time, the one who sticks out is Witold Lutosławski. This year being the centenary of his birth he is enjoying a high profile.

This Music Matters special includes conversation with his step-son. I often find that there are contradictions housed within many interesting people and Lutosławski is no exception.

Scoring Father Brown

If you’re interested in the process of writing music for television or film then this programme might be for you. Composer Debbie Wiseman details the various steps in writing, conducting and recording the music for the television drama Father Brown. There are contributions from Professor Eric Clarke of Oxford University.

I don’t know the series, and don’t much like the sound of it, nor even some of the music ‘required’ for it, but explanation of what goes on is very clear. I was particularly taken with Debbie Wiseman’s caution to the orchestra that things were going to move quite quickly – implying, I imagine, that even although they might not consider themselves involved in any given ‘musical cue’ their moment would come along soon enough and would not be helped by people moving around.

Comfort and Joy

Do you ever get the feeling that one area of your life eclipses all others? Spare a thought for Alex Comfort.

In this edition of The Sunday Feature writer Matthew Sweet explores his life as pacifist, anarchist, anti-nuclear campaigner, novelist, gerontologist, doctor and writer of the book on 12 million British bookshelves. His son, Nicholas Comfort features.